Food safety is everyone’s business

Dear Editor,
Celebrated on June 7 every year, World Food Safety Day aims to spread awareness; detect and prevent foodborne risks; contribute to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development.
The Caribbean region joins with the global community in celebrating World Food Safety Day, which is also aimed at drawing attention to, and inspiring action at, all levels and from all sectors to prevent, detect, and manage foodborne risks.
The Caribbean region shares a responsibility to contribute to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, access to regional and international markets, tourism, and sustainable development.
This year’s theme, “Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow”, highlights the need of sustainable production systems to ensure the health of people, the planet, and the economy in the long term. It is important to recognise that the health of people, animals and the environment is interconnected, and that any safety-adverse event may have a global impact on public health, trade and economy. This can pose rather detrimental effects to the sustainable development of Caribbean States.
The observance of World Food Safety Day is jointly facilitated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Foodborne illnesses caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites are infectious and toxic. They can enter the body through contaminated food and water. It is therefore important during this flooding period to ensure that food stays safe at every step of the food chain, from production to consumption.
With an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually, unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies. It disproportionally affects vulnerable and marginalised people, especially women and children, populations affected by conflict, and migrants,” mentions the United Nations on its website in recognising the global burden of foodborne diseases, which affect individuals of all ages, in particular children younger than 5 and people living in low-income countries and communities.
The FDA says that “Food safety is a shared responsibility between all governments, producers and consumers. Everyone has a role to play from farm to table to ensure the food we consume is safe and healthy. Through World Food Safety Day, WHO works to mainstream food safety in the public agenda, and reduce the burden of foodborne diseases globally.
The FDA promotes and protects public health by helping to ensure that food supply is safe, sanitary, wholesome and honestly labelled. In keeping with the spirit of World Food Safety Day, the agency also collaborates with global partners all year long to strengthen food safety.

David Adams